(L-R) Karim Aknine, Director of "Akt One", a signatory company of the National Pact; Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs; Credit: MAEE

On Wednesday 6 July 2022, Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, and the representatives of 50 Luxembourg companies signed the National Pact "Business and Human Rights", in the presence of the Union of Luxembourg Businesses (l’Union des entreprises luxembourgeoises - UEL), the National Institute for Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility (l’Institut national pour le développement durable et la responsabilité sociale des entreprises - INDR) and other stakeholders.

The National “Business and Human Rights” Pact is part of the National Action Plan “Business and Human Rights” (PAN 2), adopted by the government in December 2019 following collaboration from the public sector, the private sector, national human rights institutions, civil society, trade unions and academia.

The National Pact is a voluntary commitment aimed at business leaders wishing to implement the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

"I am delighted to see 50 companies now committing to a common effort to promote and respect human rights by signing the National 'Business and Human Rights' Pact, and I hope that many companies will follow," said Minister Asselborn.

He also ackowledged the cooperation initiated with the UEL and the INDR as well as all the stakeholders leading to the signing of the Pact.

The adoption and implementation of the National Pact will allow us to formalise the partnership and the joint commitment between the State and companies to follow the obligations and responsibilities incumbent on them under the United Nations Guiding Principles”, underlined Minister Asselborn.

In this context, Minister Asselborn also mentioned the ongoing negotiations on the proposal for a directive on the duty of vigilance, which was presented by the European Commission on 23 February 2022: "I have always committed to the publication of the draft directive. Now, we are actively participating in the negotiations for an ambitious result for Luxembourg and we hope that the work in progress will progress as quickly as possible. With this Pact too, companies will be able to prepare now for a future directive on the duty of vigilance”.

By subscribing to the Pact, companies undertake to:

  • raise awareness among their staff and stakeholders about the protection of human rights in business,
  • appoint a person responsible for human rights in the organisation,
  • train the employees concerned in matters of business and human rights,
  • develop governance instruments to identify risks and prevent human rights violations,
  • implement one or more remedies to deal with reported cases of human rights violations,
  • publish a standardised annual report on the measures implemented.

By joining the Pact, companies benefit from the following advantages:

  • visibility as a signatory,
  • training for the implementation of due diligence,
  • a tailor-made support package,
  • confidential feedback on their annual report by an external expert which will enable them to commit to continuous improvement in terms of respect for human rights.

The “National Pact „Businesses and Human Rights”” website, dedicated to businesses, is hosted by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (https://gd.lu/b3njr3).